Chesapeake Utilities achieves 4% Hydrogen Mix at gas-fired CHP plant serving Florida Industrials

Feb. 23, 2022
Chesapeake Utilities also is testing and attempting to validate emissions reduction at the Eight Flags CHP plant in Nassau County, Fla. The company is working with Solar Turbines, manufacturer of the gas turbine being test at Eight Flags

Energy delivery firm Chesapeake Utilities Corp. says it has successfully blended hydrogen with methane natural gas to power its combined heat and power (CHP) plant in Florida.

The Eight Flags CHP hydrogen test program was intended to refine operational practices and requirements for safe transportation and injection of H2 into the distribution system. Hydrogen is the lightest element and presents challenges in combustion and transportation in traditional gas pipelines.

Chesapeake Utilities also is testing and attempting to validate emissions reduction at the Eight Flags CHP plant in Nassau County, Fla. The company is working with Solar Turbines, manufacturer of the gas turbine being test at Eight Flags, to assess use of the hydrogen blend on the equipment.

“Natural gas has been the obvious choice for years; blending hydrogen with natural gas provides even lower carbon impacts without sacrificing the qualities that make natural gas a desired industrial fuel choice,” said Jeff Householder, president and CEO. “Additionally, many industrial customers are served by dedicated mains or metering and regulation facilities where hydrogen delivery interconnections can be easily constructed. At most industrial customer sites, at least on our systems, you can also find an interconnect location that can be accessed by a hydrogen tanker truck.”

Chesapeake Utilities’ Marlin Gas Services unit transported hydrogen to the Chesapeake-owned distribution system at the CHP site. An interconnect point was modified and isolated from other distribution customers, receiving the hydrogen directly from the specialized Marlin tankers. The hydrogen was blended and delivered to the CHP facility through existing steel service mains.

Prior to testing, Chesapeake Utilities received an updated air permit to operate with a blend of hydrogen. Minor modifications at the CHP plant were completed to enable the turbine to run on a 4% hydrogen blend.

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The existing turbine is scheduled for a routine change-out this year; the replacement turbine will have the capability to operate with a higher percentage of hydrogen.

Chesapeake Utilities serves numerous industrial customers in both its Florida and Delmarva market areas. CHP plants generate electricity and use the excess heat from power equipment to provide steam and cooling for other industrial processes.

Hydrogen itself does not emit a carbon atom, but it is not found in concentrated volumes in nature. It must be created via electrolysis, using electricity to separate the H2 from water, or by steam reforming of methane gas.

Truly carbon-free “green hydrogen” is created only when the electrolysis is powered by zero-carbon generation such as wind, solar or nuclear.

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(Rod Walton, senior editor for EnergyTech, is a 14-year veteran of covering the energy industry both as a newspaper and trade journalist. He can reached at [email protected]).

About the Author

Rod Walton, EnergyTech Managing Editor | Senior Editor

For EnergyTech editorial inquiries, please contact Managing Editor Rod Walton at [email protected].

Rod Walton has spent 15 years covering the energy industry as a newspaper and trade journalist. He formerly was energy writer and business editor at the Tulsa World. Later, he spent six years covering the electricity power sector for Pennwell and Clarion Events. He joined Endeavor and EnergyTech in November 2021.

Walton earned his Bachelors degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma. His career stops include the Moore American, Bartlesville Examiner-Enterprise, Wagoner Tribune and Tulsa World. 

EnergyTech is focused on the mission critical and large-scale energy users and their sustainability and resiliency goals. These include the commercial and industrial sectors, as well as the military, universities, data centers and microgrids. The C&I sectors together account for close to 30 percent of greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S.

He was named Managing Editor for Microgrid Knowledge and EnergyTech starting July 1, 2023

Many large-scale energy users such as Fortune 500 companies, and mission-critical users such as military bases, universities, healthcare facilities, public safety and data centers, shifting their energy priorities to reach net-zero carbon goals within the coming decades. These include plans for renewable energy power purchase agreements, but also on-site resiliency projects such as microgrids, combined heat and power, rooftop solar, energy storage, digitalization and building efficiency upgrades.